By Ed Henry, CNN
Washington (CNN) - President Obama is seriously considering an executive order to create a bipartisan commission that could weigh sweeping tax increases and spending cuts to try to slash the soaring federal deficit, CNN has learned.
Documents obtained by CNN show that top advisers to the president have been privately weighing various versions of a commission, and opinions differ about how to structure it. Officials say that some inside the administration are pushing for a narrow mandate because it's too complicated to tackle reform of the tax system and possible spending cuts to various popular programs such as Social Security and Medicare all at once.
"Each major category of fiscal policy - Social Security, Medicare, discretionary spending, revenues - raises a complex and idiosyncratic array of policy problems and prescriptions," according to the documents detailing some of the administration's deliberations. "Achieving consensus on any one of these issues - much less all of them simultaneously - may be more than the political system can reasonably accommodate."
But officials told CNN that other advisers to the president are pushing for the commission to have a broad mandate to put all of these big issues "on the table" at the same time.